Finding the Right Path for Parental Support:
Youth sports have so many advantages when it comes to developing young athletes physically and mentally, and this is an important selling point for parents even if they may not initially understand this. Parents need direct involvement with their children in youth sports programs to fully understand these benefits. A child’s athletic involvement will be a mutually rewarding process for parent and athlete, leading kids to succeed and educating parents on the benefits.
However, parental engagement goes beyond just understanding how it benefits their kids. When a parent becomes more involved in their child’s activities, it brings a stronger motivation for kids to do better. Plus, when using the right technology, parents can stay involved in helping their kids through sports programs in more convenient ways.
As a sports business, it's important for you to look at methods to get parents more involved… most of the time!
Find a Moderate Balance in Parental Involvement
If you're working to create a parent-child connection in sports, one thing to focus on is the level of parental support needed to make a true difference. Many statistics show parental involvement enhances the enjoyment and success of kids in sports. At the same time, over-involved parents could create too much stress and pressure on kids to succeed. This can especially be an issue if parents are extremely tough on their kids, constantly pointing out the negatives on the field.
Under-involvement on a financial or emotional level may force the child to find outlets from other figures. Should they not find one, it could easily deflate their athletic motivations and dissuade them from further participation.
Finding the perfect balance in parental involvement can make or break a young athlete’s success.
Connecting the Parents with Athletes
One way to assure parents stay involved is to make sure the parent and child are on the same page when it comes to their training. By meeting together, you can discuss any issues, feedback, and let the child share his or her feelings about how training is going and any additional support they may need from parents.
It's a good opportunity for them to tell their parents if they’re feeling too much pressure. In this regard, you might have to become a temporary family counselor to assure feelings aren't hurt, and communication is clear.
A challenge here can be parents with busy careers who may not have a lot of time to become involved in the sports process, but this makes it all the more important to sit down and meet to discuss progress.
Helping to Define Success
Without parental support, a child playing youth sports might get the wrong impression about what success means when playing. Pressures from their peers (and the media) might make them assume they need to do almost superhuman things to truly define athletic success.
Parents can help their children define success in different terms, such as not only focusing on a win, but more on small successes within the game, progress and attitude.
When parents appreciate their children mastering a particular athletic skill, or just putting in an extraordinary effort, kids are going to feel more nurtured and motivated.
The whole point of youth sports isn't necessarily to jump into becoming a star athlete right away. To keep a kid engaged long-term, this might be a more gradual process. It should become a physical and mental tutorial on how to approach sports in the future.
As mentioned before, a parents on-the-go schedule could be keeping them from becoming more involved. So making things like training registration, scheduling and payments easily accessible through better technology is going to make a big difference. Using quality sports management software can help achieve this, especially when it comes to keeping track on a mobile device.
Not every parent is going to have the time to visit you in person to register their child for a youth sports program. By allowing them to register and pay online, you'll get the parents involved quickly without having to put pressures on their time.
At the same time, they can also do scheduling online and keep track to assure their children attend. Otherwise, a parent might become too consumed with life and end up making mistakes before actually getting their child to the training.
Offering technological freedom to parents opens their schedules to bring emotional support once their kids are involved.
Attending Games or Sessions
A parent attending their child’s game or event is the ultimate support they can provide. Yet, parents still have to apply the principles mentioned above in keeping support well-balanced. Becoming too critical of plays while attending, or becoming too competitive with fellow parents could defeat the purpose and even negatively impact the athletes.
In addition, by working with parents to do other outside activities like fundraising or assisting with logistics, kids can see their parents going above and beyond to give their support.
Remember, a youth athlete’s experience can rely heavily on parental involvement and support; and the right balance is key. So keep both parents and athletes happy by being aware of the parent-athlete relationship and doing what you can as a coach to ensure a strong support system.